University of the Arts London Own It - Creative London Intellectual Property Advice Service Creative London

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This weekís round-up will be music to the ears of performers and online music retailers alike.

22 August 2005

Itís all happening for the UKís creative industries legislation-wise at the moment. Own It had just finished last weekís round-up and the story about the art levy when another new law came to our attention. From next February certain moral rights that currently apply to authors (amongst others) will be extended to musicians who perform live or whose work is broadcast or recorded. The new rights are the right to be identified as the performer of the work and the right to object to derogatory treatment of the performance. One group likely to be affected will be dance music and hip-hop artists who rely heavily on sampling to create their music. Under the new law, musicians can prevent their performance being used as a sample by someone like Fatboy Slim even if they have assigned copyright to someone else.  However, it is worth noting that the law will apply only to performances given after February 1st 2006, leaving the legal situation unchanged for anything created before then. So thatís retro sample obsessed Norman Cook off the hook at least. The Patent Office website has an excellent summary of how the new rights will work in practice.

Staying on the subject of music, it looks like the EU is finally moving towards a Europe-wide licensing system for online music. As things stand now, a website offering legal music downloads has to obtain a separate licence for each EU country. As you can imagine, this is a huge headache for the websites and has served to strangle the growth of Europe-wide legal music download sites. However, licensing agencies in Belgium and the Netherlands last week scrapped the requirement for separate licenses, instead adopting the European Commissionís proposed pan-European approach. Own It is keeping fingers crossed that the industry bodies in other member states will follow suit soon, as a truly pan-European market for online music can only be a good thing for musicians. Check out the BBC for more on that story.

Thatís the lot for this week, people. See you all next week.  

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